News flash: Houki wins!!!
With relentless precision, Infinite Stratos checks off the last few cliches in the finale. But I will give the show credit for actually being a harem series where the hero makes a choice in the end, even if I disagree with the choice – that certainly happens less often than not. Houki should always have been the smart-money favorite, I suppose, given her place as first in line. But I was a Charlotte guy – she won me over pretty quickly and I was rooting for her in the end.
But before all that, we had the usual trope-fest. We had the injured Ichika seeing dream visions while lying in bed, comatose. We had the mysterious female figure guiding him along, and the voice asking if he wanted to be strong. We had the entire Team Ichika teaming to beat the runaway Gospel, because all their IS’ individual talents would be needed to win. We had the stern teacher scold the students for breaking the rules, then congratulate them. Yessir, all bases covered here.
Of course we had the big reveal – that Houki’s onee-san was apparently behind the renegade Gospel at the very least, and maybe behind Ichika’s ability to pilot an IS despite having a penis – though that last part isn’t quite confirmed (the Onee-san part, not the penis part. Although I suppose that was never confirmed either – Charlotte would know). At the least, she’s quite the little matchmaker.
There certainly wasn’t anything in the last episode that was going to change anyone’s opinion about this show, one way or the other. If you liked it already it was more of the same, and if you didn’t like it – well, that should be implied. Curiously, that sense of “more of the same” is both a positive and a negative for this series – but I’ll save that for the series review. In the interim, congrats to Houki for scoring a win for tsunderes and osananajimi everywhere.